modification problems

Despite my total lack of reasonable native speaker intuitions, I really think the author of this webpage screwed up. Jeff Benedict recently published the book The Mormon Way of Doing Business. Let's look past all the problems we have with such an idea and head right to this paragraph:

What do the CEOs of JetBlue Airways, Dell Computers, Delloite & Touche, and Madison Square Garden have in common with the CFO of American Express and the former Dean of Harvard Business School? As shown in this one-of-a-kind business book, they are all devout Mormons. They rarely work Sundays, come home for dinner, and do chores around the house. Yet, they compete very successfully against workaholics who routinely put in seventy to eighty hour weeks.
(emphasis added)

Does that sentence not seem to imply that all three things are done infrequently? I guess the "and" conjunction might tilt things the other way (it'd be "or" if all were truly modified). Surely the author wants to highlight that they do come home for dinner and do do chores around the house (he fails to mention that all men also have stay-at-home wives, but that's beside the point here). There's at least some ambiguity going on here and people who read quickly online might get the wrong idea. Unless he's suggesting that Mormons don't work Sundays, are chauvinists and are successful business men. That'd be a more interesting book, don't you think?

Former-day Saints

Petra posted a humorous take on Follow the Prophet if we were using the Qur'an as our holy book. Something that's always made me wonder about that song (besides the cultic, chanting effect it produces) is why is all Bible prophets? Why nobody from the BoM? Or better yet, Latter-day prophets? Since I'm clearly not above running with, read stealing, a good idea (and because coming up with these was way more interesting than listening to what my Stake President thought was truth but veered a bit close to false doctrine for me), here's some ones I came up with today.

Note: They also show why I'll never be in charge of any Church-produced material.

Brigham was a prophet, Lion of the Lord.
Against fornicators he would wield a sword.
He led us to Zion, where the stakes did grow.
He taught God was Adam, th'only one we know.

Wilford was in trouble for polygamy
So he stopped the practice in, at least, theory.
Then the evil Congress couldn't steal our lands.
Now we are embarrassed by the fundie bands.

When Lorenzo travelled way down to Dixie
He received a vision how to raise money.
Now we pay our tithing so that we won't burn
And to use the temple, where all things we learn.

Heber was in power nearly thirty years.
He made it essential that we don't drink beers.
He valued sticking with from baseballs to song.
If we take his lead then we cannot go wrong.

McKay ran the kingdom as it grew threefold
But for negro Priesthood wasn't very bold.
He ran Correlation, stealing women's power.
We have him to thank for Sunday School's hour.

Spencer love the Indians, raised the Priesthood ban,
thought that Cain was Bigfoot, served his fellow man.
Hoffmann may have tricked him, but we all were fooled.
In his book he taught that passions should be cooled.

Ere the Lord called Benson, we used other books.
Now the Book of Mormon captures all our looks.
He was very right wing, called the women home.
He was in the Cabinet, overseeing loam.

Hunter only lasted nine months at the head.
So he couldn't do much before he was dead.
Much like Lee before him, we haven't much to say.
Just for out-surviving, we praise them today.

Hinckley is our leader and no kind of fraud.
He bulit mini-temples to bless Saints abroad.
He visits all the world, shows them that he cares
and is seen on t.v., every couple years.

And if we want to reach back into the Bible what about:

Miriam with Aaron was a source of strife
When she questioned Moses on his choice of wife.
God made her a leper for this evil deed.
Let this be a lesson: women should not lead.

Anna wasn't young when Jesus Christ was born.
Recognizing Him when His foreskin was shorn
Made her get a mention by the doctor Luke.
She's another witness and not just a kook.

Will it die already?

One thing that continues to flummox me is the popularity of The Da Vinci Code. It's not particularly well written, the ideas are interesting for about two weeks and it does less to question "traditional Christianty" than about any other current controversy (such as intelligent design v. evolution) or long-standing flaw (e.g. how can a loving God inflict pain on his children). So, while I don't get it, I can still be appalled by some things. Like the publication of The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key. Some authors would hold off until the work they are supposedly explicating is, oh, published. But not Greg Taylor, he knows that he's gotta cash in now or else he'll miss out on Dan Browns next "bestseller" (also isn't it odd to refer to a book that isn't even at the publishing house as a bestseller?).

It gets even wackier, though, when we move to the Jello Belt. The following is a press release from Cedar Fort about its recent publication The Dynasty of the Holy Grail: Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline:

SPRINGVILLE—Amazing new book coming soon on Mormonism’s relationship to the Grail phenomenon.

Rather than being just a "quickie" book on a hot topic, Dr. Vern G. Swanson has produced a thoughtful book on the topic of the Holy Grail and the bloodline of Jesus. After reading nearly 400 books on the Holy Grail, his perspective has grown through the 28 years he has researched and written on the question.

Going far beyond the mortally flawed best-sellers, `Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and `The Da Vinci Code' his epic book should be applicable to both Mormon and non-Mormon audiences. It is certainly the most significant scholarly tome on the Holy Grail and the bloodline yet written.

Ok, so the last line there is laughable, and what do they mean by "mortally flawed"? Morally flawed, perhaps? But wait! it gets better when you read the Des News story about the work. In summary, what we have as a thesis is that Joseph Smith, Jr. descended from Mary Magdalene through his mother and directly from Jesus through his father. Thus, Joseph Smith was uniquely born to restore the Gospel and could bring an end to the Ephraim (Mary) and Judah (Jesus) contention. All this reminds me of the guy who claimed in my historical linguistics class that Indo-European in general and English in particular were the best vehicles for restoring the Gospel. In essence, a possible and perhaps vaguely interesting assertion but really without much merit.

In that Des News article the author is quoted as claiming:

If Jesus had children they would be "robust," but would lack the power over death that LDS people believe Christ had. It would take about three generations for the godly attributes of Christ to be absorbed into the gene pool with the exception of the Y chromosome that came from Christ and the mitochondrial DNA, which came through Mary Magdelene.

Where does this 3 generation idea come from? Has Bro. Swanson had the chance to explore what divine DNA looks like? Has he run experiments? If not, his belief is not only groundless but borderline crazy. If this is based on some more generalized theory (like it takes three generations to dillute such and so...), this also fails because it assumes that godly chromosomes act just like the rest of the nucleic acids.

I just don't get these people. Or the obsession with the Holy Grail. It seems like warnings against gospel hobbies would have stopped the work on this book, but I guess the theory was more important to this brother than following the advice of prophets (I guess this depends how strongly you believe BKP and BRM are prophets). Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to reading my lastest Mormocentric purchase: Life Everlasting, a "scholarly" work about the afterlife in LDS theology based on near-death experiences. It's ok, you see, because I feel guilty about my hobbies.

Wherewith shall it be salted?

So, during my instruction class today, a guy gave a session on Boolean operators. He asked for two topics, any two topics to be search. Someone yelled out "salt and pepper!" He used these terms. Oddly, in the NEOS library catalogue when you enter salt or pepper as a keyword all fields search, the first 20 results are really Mormocentric. (I've bolded the titles, for those of you that can't spot all of them at sight).

The videos are all owned by the local Lutheran Institution (which makes me wonder about their curricular I smell a research project?)

  • They built with faith : true tales of God's guidance in L.D.S. chapel building worldwide

  • Sperry Symposium classics : the New Testament

  • Recapitulation (Stegner, Wallace Earle, 1909-1993)

  • Personal voices : a celebration of Dialogue

  • David Matthew Kennedy : banker, statesman, churchman

  • Life in Christ (Millet, Robert)

  • Terrestrial vertebrates of tidal marshes : evolution, ecology and conservation

  • Salt

  • On the way home. [videorecording]

  • The lamb of God [videorecording]

  • Together forever [videorecording]

  • Our heavenly Father [videorecording]

  • Family first [videorecording]

  • Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Mormon claims answered

  • The truth about "the God makers"

  • SALT (Serving and Learning Together) 2001-2002

  • Salt, light, and signs of the time : the life and times of Alfred M. (Rip) Rehwinkel

  • Life goals : how to discover and achieve your own

  • Web search garage [electronic resource]

Additionally, bonus points to anyone who can frame a situation in which exclusive or (XOR) could be used for database searching [it finds items that contain (A or B) but not (A and B)]. See diagram, below.

Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit

Today is Stake Conference, the epitome of the Freeby (freebee? freebie?) Sunday. So, instead of trying to find out a way to get to the wardhouse where I could catch the broadcast from Salt Lake, I went to a Quaker Meeting. En route, I actually passed a Stake Center and briefly considered hopping off the bus to catch the prophet speaking. But, I've heard him before and I've never been to a Society of Friends meeting. Both are PETS, so I errored on the side of novelty.

So, I get to the location (not a church, they actually meet in L'Arche Centre) and the door is locked. But, there's a sign suggesting that it's the right spot. After about thirty seconds of standing outside peering into the window, a guy comes up and opens the door with a hint of hestitation. He has the sort of wide-eyed expression that could mean low-level crazy but probably just means he's socially awkward.

"Looking for the Quakers?" he asks, to which I respond affirmatively. He then opens the door wide so I can enter and remove my shoes. He doesn't offer up where I should go, so I stand a moment until he starts walking and I follow him. We enter a room that has awesome 1970s green carpet, a strange mural of the stations of the cross and that musty smell that I associate with non-Mormon churches and grandparents' homes. The room has about a dozen chairs in a half-hearted attempt at a circle. I sit down as "silent worship" has already begun.

The Quaker worship service is a bit different than most Christian groups. First, you need to know that there is no clergy or even anyone in charge, all are equal. Decisions are made by consensus alone. Their meetings consist of three parts: silent worship, worship sharing and a final, more social aspect that doesn't have a name. For silent worship, you sit in silence (and apparently from the others' examples try to avoid eye contact). If you are overwhelmed by something that should be shared you share it. If not, you maintain silence. This part went on for about 45 mins. Two people gave comments, each lasting about thirty seconds.

I don't really understand the difference between this and the second part. It was inaugurated when one Friend said, "Friends, it is now time for worship sharing." We were silent still. Another two piped up here for about thirty seconds. So, all in all, I spent an hour in the company of ten or so strangers with only two minutes of talk. Worship sharing ended with us standing and holding hands in a circle briefly. Then, the cookies and coffee were trotted out (why hasn't Mormonism kept this sectarian tradition?) and some business was transacted.

The group makeup was pretty much what I expected. A couple of men in their early thirties that appear to be a touch antisocial, two or so women of the same age, a single family with their five year-old son, and the rest of the people were in their seventies (at least). Strangely, most of the elderly people were British. Maybe the sect does better in the UK?

Overall, the experience was interesting but not spiritual. It was restful but not regenerating. The idea of worshipping together in silence is intriguing, but I don't know that my own thoughts could sustain me for that long. I did not get antsy, but I just kept coming back to the same ideas and had very little stimulus to nudge me out of them. Plus, sitting in a circle with a group of people and avoiding looking at them would be taxing.

Here's how I'd break down the experience:

the group is welcoming: 4 out of 5

the visitor can follow what's going on: 5 out of 5

the visitor feels comfortable: 4 out of 5 (depends on your comfort level with silence, also)

the group tried to convert the visitor: 1 out of 5 ("I hope you'll come back" with a smile was as assertive as they got)

I felt spiritually fed: 2 out of 5

I'm so hungry I could eat at Arby's

I like Arby's, actually. Every now and again. Though, I should learn that their "cheese" they use for their melts makes me sick. And may mean I'll have to dash from the middle of watching The Queen (which I found good, but not superb. mostly it made me realize how weird all these people who were going crazy about Princess Diana really were). I hate leaving the theatre during a movie. But I also hate more the consequences of not leaving the theatre in these scenarios. Many more hedons were produced by exit than by staying.

So before the movie, I ate at Arby's. They have two specials going on right now: two bacon cheddar melts for $5 or two sourdough bacon melts for $5. At the "restaurant" I dined at, there's this big sign that reads "2 for $5 Sourdough Bacon Melts" and then over in the corner it reads "Choose any combination of both sandwiches". Ok, now based on this signage alone, I assume they meant you could have one bacon and cheddar and one sourdough bacon melt. I mean, each sandwich evidently costs $2.50, so no problem, right?. Apparently, this is not the case. They have a ham sourdough melt and a beef sourdough melt. Nowhere on this sign does it state as much. Given the added complexity that fast food menu writers have decided it's best to only show combos these days and to not list, oh, what's actually served separately, it exacerbates the confusion greatly. (No combos involve sourdough bacon melts.)

I go up to the counter and ask if I can get one b&c and one sourdough melt for five bucks. The guy says (in his thick Indian accent) "no, the beef and cheddar is completely separate." I rejoinder with "but the sign says any combination of both." He repeats the fact that b&c is b&c and sourdough is sourdough and ne'er the twain shall meet. He does not however offer up the bit about there being two kinds of sourdough melts, so I have to ask him. He then tells me about the ham option. I go with two sourdough melts (both beef. it's kosher, you know). It was poor signage and worse customer service. Granted, with Alberta's current economy the only people working in fast food are immigrants with questionable English (and probably more sketchy rights to work legally) and 14 year old boys (yes, it is always boys. why don't the preteen girls in that socioeconomic group work? do you think they would more so if McDonald's had daycare?)

Here's what boggles my mind though: Given you have two beef- and cheddar-based sandwiches. Given both are being sold as part of a two for five scheme. Prove that it makes sense, economically or otherwise, to only allow customer to order one variety. Also, at what time will the trains collide?

I'd not recommend the sandwich. It's on bread that is made to look toasted without actually being toasted. A bad sign. There is very little meat and the bacon is not strips of bacon but bacon bits (real bacon bits, but still...). Overall, it was a disappointment, like everything else that comes my way. My life, after all, is so hard.

Note to self: do not study late at night in UCLA's Library

For those of you who don't live, breathe, and eat libraries, you may not be familiar with the recent cause célèbre of the student who was tasered (why don't we say tased?) by campus cops at UCLA. Supposedly, during a routine id check of night owls in a computer lab, Mostafa Tabatabainejad refused to provide his student card. This led to police asking him to leave, and then some touching, a yell or two from Mr. Tabatabainejad and then, at least four taser blasts to "subdue" him (including one that was allegedly administered after he was handcuffed). Some students caught it with their cellphones (which must be the bane of all abusive cops these days) and have spread it around. YouTube has one video. You can't so much see the problem as hear it, but you get an idea.

I have so many questions about this incident. Before I get to those, please remember that I am not a racist, despite what I sometimes claim to think. And keep in mind that using a taser on a human is ethically questionable to begin with in my mind, so the question is not "should he have been tasered?" but rather "was force of some sort justified?" So here goes: was it actually racial profiling as Mostafa claims? Or was he doing something that might look suspicious? Why do police need id for late night studiers? Does this preventative measure do anything? Especially if the space is crowded, as it appears to have been. Do they only want students using machines, is that their problem? If so, why? Did he need to yell when his arm was grabbed?

My major question though (and proof that I am a. rule bound, b. eager to think good of authority and c. not going to be one to ever yell "to the barricades!") is why didn't he just show id when asked? Even if there is racial profiling, even if the purpose is questionable, even if the method solves nothing, why not just pony up the card? Did he have his card with him? It seems a minor inconvience, especially knowing now that the end result of not playing along is shocks. Real, electrical shocks.

something to do if you hope to shock

I just learned today that last Sunday (not yesterday, but the one prior), I was apparently a reason for discussion. I bore my testimony. Ok, now that all have recovered from the shock that a. I have a testimony and b. I got up to share it, we can move on. I got up and my typical testimony (which always included a strong witness of prayer and the love of our Heavenly Father). But I started it out like this:

Recently, I was feeling very nostalgic and so was reading my journal. I was shocked to be reminded of all the crises of faith I had when I was a teenager. I thought God didn't exist and the Church was a scam and so on. It's surprising for me to contrast that with me now. I'm not saying I've had a major vision or anything, just the accretion of belief. So, I want to bear my testimony of the Gospel. I don't want to imply that I don't have any doubts, because I do. There's lots of the gospel I don't understand or agree with and even more that I don't like. But I believe the bulk of it.

I then went on to bear my testimony. Some of my friends in the ward told me that I caused some talk (which means I probably caused a lot of talk, since some came back to this set that are not the most uptight of believers). One girl thought it was inaccurate to bear testimony of the Gospel and say there's parts I don't understand or believe as if the Gospel is one cohesive chunk of taffy and you can't digest pieces at a time. Others just thought my testimony was inappropriate because I didn't rely on forumalae. Well, granted that's not how they protrayed their idea, but the essential point is that my testimony was unusual.

This really pisses me off for several reasons. First of all, I have the terrible vision of a becoming another project, like was beginning to happen at the end of my stay at Alpine Apts (granted, I was semi-inactive then, but still...). Secondly, it suggests that my ward only wants cookie-cutter testimonies and therefore simplistic members. It implies that faithful doubt or honest spirituality is something akin to disbelief and should not be the stance of the church attendee. Or maybe you can be that, just by all means don't share with us. We'd rather have the guy who makes non sequitor, obnoxious jokes and claims to love everyone in ward. Now, there's a testimony. But saying the church is true with no qualifiers is problematic because the statment doesn't really map to reality in any meaningful way (i.e. it asserts nothing) and causes problems with unchanging truth since the church as the application of the gospel changes, while the gospel proper does not.

The main reason I got upset with the fact that my testimony caused a stir is that I firmly disagree with the notion of a solid, packaged Gospel. There are problems with this. It claims that we have all truth (not so) and that nothing should trouble us spiritually. It also means we cannot gain testimony of certain principles and add it to our overall picture. Rather, we believe all things or we believe nothing. I really think there are going to be things that we, as individuals, will never fully come to terms with in this life. That doesn't make us evil. As long as we've got the bulk correct and do our duty, these wrinkles will be ironed in the hereafter. As negative as the image of a salad bar believer is, I really think that's how we should approach our gospel learning. You take a bunch of parts you know and love and add to it over time. It only gets better and better as you go. But just because all you've got is lettuce, carrots and crutons doesn't mean you shouldn't bear testimony or that you don't actually believe what you're saying. If you already know everything where's the room for faith? Does faith not require a degree of doubt a sense that you may be wrong?

No wonder people who don't feel perfect leave the church. We're crafting a religious experience with set parameters. I really wonder what Joseph thinks about this. He so strongly disliked creeds and other forms of set belief. I wonder if he's upset with the de facto stipulations those that claim to support his theology have organized. I'm not him, so I can't say, but I do know that it bothers me. And I'm almost as good as the Prophet of the Restoration, right?

we believe that mankind will be punished for their own arithmetic

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none--and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
--2 Nephi 28.22

Satan is a tricky guy (who may or may not be attractive and have a girlfriend…can anyone explain to me the Mormon obsession with questions like these?). He’s got a whole bag of tricks. To some, as Nephi taught, he tells them there’s no hell and that gets them to misapply knowledge. Nephi also claimed he lures others away into carnal security. They then become flabby spiritually and are lead “carefully down to hell”. Nephi’s discourse goes into other ways and means by which man can sin. We can get angry at the truth of God and thus rage against it. We may become self-satisfied and say we have enough (theological certitude). Or we can put our trust in man. Lastly, according to Nephi, we can be born into the wrong lineage (though what Nephi means by Gentiles and what LDS mean by Gentiles is different. Does that make his weird closing statement any better, though?)

My purpose here isn’t to recount all the manners of the devil’s deceit that Nephi listed. It’s to point out another one that I couldn’t find in the scriptures. It’s not because I think I’m particularly unique. Rather, I think most people who are entrusted with sacred books (excluding some of the men of Omni) aren’t so easily beset with sin as I am. Therefore, the whole idea may be foreign to them. It’s this: And to others, he telleth to commit a sin, and saith they will escape a greater sin thereby.

I won’t go into the details here (is it a p.t. if it’s still current?), but I fell into this pattern this week. I convinced myself (probably with the help of a certain disembodied spirit brother) that if I did x, it would keep me from doing y, which in turn would mean I’d not sink to z. Logically it makes sense. I understand my sinful nature and know that I’ll mostly not be able to avoid iniquity. So, why burst into flames by jumping to z? Instead, I can just do x, which probably doesn’t even require confession. Just a matter of contrition and some forsaking (and yes, I understand that this mocks the expiation and that contrition planned in advanced probably lack conviction and that thinking this probably makes x appear a bit too much like the older understanding of denying the Holy Ghost.) Unfortunately what is logical and consistent is not always true. Also, sadly, I don’t really understand my sinful nature. Instead of x acting as a steam valve, it set off a starter pistol. So I found myself the next day looking for x+1, which approaches, but does not reach, y (I considered a limit statement here, but I’m not that nerdy.) Fortunately, I pulled out of my tailspin before toppling over the cliff into a torment of disappointment (Mormon hell).

Suffice it to say, this tactic of Satan is convincing to me. It’s convincing but it’s false. I think it’s so convincing because it allows me to both sin and resist temptation. I’m having my guilt and beating it too. Like my description of testimony bingo to a fellow ward member last Sunday, I can be both righteous and wicked. Satan wants to set up a division in my nature so I’m not a unitary being fighting a good fight, but a natural man and an adopted saint. Unfortunately for all involved, he usually prevails, and if he manages to fully split my soul, he’ll win for sure. Brigham Young taught, “we know enough to damn us. And when we know enough for that, we know enough to save us, if our knowledge is improved upon.” I guess I know enough to damn me. I’m just not convinced that improving on that knowledge is worth the effort.

(Odd note: LDS Collectors Library lists the scriptures in this order: Book of Mormon, D&C, PoGP, New Testament, Old Testament, JST-New Testament, JST-Old Testament. Hmm…exposing their own bias, perhaps?)

vlogrop: Murder by Death

Here Neil Simon gives us the world’s greatest detectives at their most stereotypical pitted against one another to solve a most dastardly plot. The conceit wears a bit thin over the course of the film, especially if, like me, you’re not that into Nick & Nora, Sam Spade, Charlie Chan, und so weiter. And the twists and turns are either glaringly obvious or off-puttingly offbeat. However, the one-liners are definitely worth the ninety-five minutes of playing time. Plus, you get the added bonus of the final rant against mystery novels (which neatly encapsulates why they frustrate me). To really seal the deal, it stars David Niven, Maggie Smith, Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, and Alec Guinness (among others). Not to mention Truman Capote as the insane mastermind. Yes, that Truman Capote, in all his short-bodied, high-voiced glory. Seriously check it out. And then you’ll understand the lovely line by Dick Charleston: “Saved only by the fact that I am enormously well-bred.”

my hope in Christ

On Wednesday, I had a really bad day. Nothing really brought this on and nothing could seem to make it better. I felt a bit put upon, having to go to school to meet with my advisor, who is a supremely kind man but lacking in some essential social skills (such as how to signal that a conversation is completed). I was frustrated that it was only November 1st and already sitting around -8° C. I was pissed off about having to buy a bus pass for the month, which was part of the larger irritation that I don't have a car here. I had a headache. I signed into my online course to see nearly 200 messages I was supposed to read, knowing full well I didn't care about 86% of them (I'm not entirely convinced schools need librarians. Oh, and librarians may be the most undereducated profession in the world). I had been at work until midnight the night before, feeling completely unnecessary after about 9.45. Oh, and on Tuesday I turned in what may very well be the worst assignment of my library school career, which is saying a lot if it outranks some of the other inane things I've done here.

All these are the typical worries of my days (after all, my foundational narrative is "my life is so hard"), and therefore don't get me down too often. But something about the day just really laid me out. It registered in what my friend termed the "constantly disgusted face" I kept making. My mood also became clear after I saw Running with Scissor and called it funny while my colleague thought it was "so depressing". I was definitely a tourist in Schadenfreudeland (the papers for my resident visa have yet to come through).

At any rate, all this whinging is adding up to something. I was doing dishes later that night (doing housework always makes me feel slightly better. how creepy 50s-wife-of-an-abusive-alcoholic is that?), and came to my cheese grater. I was soaping it up and got a flash in my mind of the scene from The Backslider where Frank takes the skin off the back of his hand. I momentarily considered scraping my thumb the against the holes to draw blood. I stopped myself because, well frankly, I'm not crazy. This flash, though, reminded me of Frank's vision of the cowboy Jesus and the question He asks the flesh-is-weak protaganist:

"Why can't you believe my blood was enough?" Jesus said. "Why do you have to shed yours too?"

I'm not suggesting that everything was ok after remembering the Expiation. Far from it. I still have to face another semester of library school. The winter will still be cold. And I'll still fall short of the glory of God and so on and so on. But, I like remembering good books. And The Backslider is definitely one of those. Oh, and I really like what Jesus did, blah, blah, blah.


Is the picture above offensive? If so, to whom? (my conservative Mormon library colleague, as opposed to the more lax Mormon, found it extremely troubling. But then, she didn't know the original words to the hymn.) I don't see it as offensive, but then, I've lost all ability to judge such things.

Are Mormons charismatic Christians? Why or why not?